London Mayor Boris Johnson was forced to declare that “no one said IQ is the only measure of ability” when he was ambushed live on air with a short quiz and failed to give a single correct answer.
Appearing today for the first time since he controversially seemed to suggest low IQ was the reason poor people did not succeed in life, the Eton- and Oxford-educated politician was set three official IQ questions by LBC presenter Nick Ferrari.
The mayor appeared evasive when answering the questions on his regular Ask Boris radio slot, and also struggled to answer some basic queries about London Underground ticket fares.
Asked how many apples he would have if he took two apples from three apples, the Mayor replied: “You've got loads of apples mate, you've got one apple left.”
Mr Ferrari said: “You say you've got one apple? You haven't, you've got two apples.”
In another question, Mr Ferrari asked: “A man builds a house with four sides of rectangular construction each side with southern exposure. A big bear comes along. What is the colour of the bear?”
Mr Johnson said it was probably brown, then added that he did not have a clue. The answer is white, since it must be a polar bear on the North Pole.
Finally, the mayor was asked: “I went to bed at 8 in the evening last night and I wound up my clock and set my alarm to sound for 9 o'clock in the morning. How many hours sleep did I get?”
Mr Johnson refused to answer, adding: “No one has said that IQ is the only measure of ability.”
The test came after the mayor sparked a wave of criticism last week when he said that 16 per cent of “our species” had an IQ of less than 85 and just 2 per cent over 130 before adding “the harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top”.
Chancellor George Osborne said he did not agree with the mayor's comments and Prime Minister David Cameron made clear that he did not share the sentiments, while Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, branded it “unpleasant, careless elitism”.
In the LBC interview today, Mr Johnson also reportedly said he had not once met with union boss Bob Crow in the six years he has been mayor, despite the fact that the RMT leader represents London's bus and tube workers.
On the topic of selling off the naming rights for Tube stations, he also claimed that Marble Arch had once been called Selfridges. The Guardian said this was a claim he has made twice before, but which emerged to be untrue.
Defending his speech in honour of Margaret Thatcher earlier this week, he said: “What I was saying actually is there is too much inequality and my speech was actually a warning, as correctly reported by many newspapers, actually a warning against letting this thing go unchecked.
“What hacks me off is that people with ability have found it very difficult to progress in the last 20 years and we have got to do something about that.
“The key thing I said was that inequality was only tolerable in our society if you, number one, you looked after those who are finding it tough to compete and, number two, where people do have talent and ability you let them get on and so I went on to explain what you needed to do.“
Asked about the criticism his speech had provoked, he said: “People are entitled to misinterpret, wilfully to misconstrue what I said if they so choose. I notice that many newspapers, many commentators did not. I think the real issue is we need to do more to help people, both who are finding it tough and people who... 20 or 30 years ago we had much more fluidity.”